11 Simple Ways To Improve Your Vocabulary For IELTS

IELTS might not have a specific test with respect to vocabulary but in turn it is used to assess every other skill...

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ielts vocabulary

IELTS might not have a specific test with respect to vocabulary but in turn it is used to assess every other skill in the exam. When attempting the skills reading, listening, writing and speaking we have to make use of different words with proper pronunciation and spellings.

And importantly when it comes to speaking and writing around 20 – 30% points are based on your vocabulary. This reason alone is enough for you to start preparing a rich vocabulary that can help you improve your band score.

1.Look up words you don’t know

Many would advise you to read books, magazines and watch shows to learn new words but at the same time is equally important to look up for the words you don’t know. Many have the habit to leave difficult and new words thinking that those won’t be required in our life or exam. But make a habit of looking up for words that you don’t know about, either it being a difficult one to read, spell or write as well.



The above word might seem strange for someone who might be looking at for the first time, but using such sophisticated words can earn you a good impression.

  • Pronunciation – Fue-nahm-bue-lism
  • Meaning – Demonstration of cleverness, mental agility
  • Sentence – Rajit deserved the award because he showed great funambulism with the project he finished.
  • Origin – The word in latin means “one who performs on a tightrope” that gives a essence of a person with quick agility in terms of cleverness and mentality.

So once you’ve gone through the meaning, pronunciation, example sentence and the true origin doesn’t this word seem easier now? And this literally means you’ve learned a new word right now, which isn’t so difficult when you look up for the meaning.

2.Vocabulary Notebook

It might seem a bit old fashioned to have a notebook to write down all new words and their meanings but it might help you understand those words better. Other than this you can even use the book to revise the written words when the exam is near that is a way better option that hustling to find resources with new words right before the exam.

Contents of the notebook

When I say have a notebook to note down new words, and then it doesn’t simply have to be that world alone that you have to note down. Here is a list of things you have to note along with the word you are going to write in the book.

Example Main Word – Steep

So the main word which we are going to write down is “Steep” and the related content is listed below.

  • Main word – Steep
  • Synonym – Sharp, Abrupt
  • Antonym – Gentle
  • Example sentence – The prices may be steep this season due to fewer sales
  • Literal meaning – flight of stairs or angle of a slope

3. Practice but don’t exaggerate

So when you come with a note book or find an app to learn new words, the only thing left to do is practice the word in real life. In case of speaking skill you can take on any topic or question that was recently asked in the exam. And then try to speak about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes with the vocabulary you’ve learned recently. Next in case of writing we need to make sure that we don’t exaggerate sentences because we can use a single but sophisticated word.

And the most important thing is not to dwell too much on a single word, by trying to find tons of related example sentences. Well doing that might just waste your time because; if you want to learn then practice the word a few times which should be enough.

4. Try Vocabulary building apps

We all own Smartphone and there are tons of apps on play store, app store which can help us improve our language. Well for starters I advise you to make use of Magoosh vocabulary builder app which not only has word understanding, but it consists of exercises, meanings, synonyms that can really help you.

Some more apps are

  • 7 little words
  • Word to word
  • PowerVocab
  • A word a day widget

The reason I advise you to make use of Android apps to build your vocabulary is that, you can even open these apps during your free time and learn new words right away. It saves a lot of time and it doesn’t even have to be added as a part of your schedule when it takes less time to learn from these apps.

5. Use YouTube for Understanding

We all use YouTube for entertainment but it should not come to you as surprise that there hundreds of channels that provide English skills on the platform. And every such channel also talks about different words and they speak about how a word is pronounced, used in a phrase or sentence with examples.

Learning 2000 rich vocabulary words is not something easy to do and you might end up memorizing those words. At the end it might not hold any value when you memorize words and not be able to properly utilize them while speaking or writing.

So the action plan I am talking requires YouTube and you collecting only 100 – 200 new words that you want to learn properly. Then once the list is collected, start searching them online and you will be able to find all of those online with proper sentences and examples that might make you understand how one word can fit into a sentence properly.

6. Understand but don’t memorize all the time

Phone numbers are meant to be memorized but not words, because a single word might have few definite meanings behind it. In simple words, we can express a word in different contexts that don’t do not mean the same at the end.

The reason is simple, memorizing a word might be easy but sometimes the same word might not have one strict meaning. So the best way to understand this is to know about Homonyms that are words with same spelling, pronunciation but having different meanings.


So let me give you simple examples of words we use in our everyday life.

Word – Pen

  • Sentence 1 – Can you pass me the pen?
  • Sentence 2 – Make sure to properly close the pen

So you might be thinking we are only talking about a pen that writes? Let us understand those two words with more meaning to them.

  • Sentence 1 – Can you pass me the blue pen from my bag?

Here, “Pen” means a writing thing

  • Sentence 2 – Make sure to properly close the pen area, so that no animals go out.

Whereas here, “Pen” means a holding area of animals

7. Read Newspapers

Reading is the best habit to learn new words and it will also help you to improve your skills for IELTS reading module. You can subscribe a daily or weekly newspaper online or offline and have the habit of reading articles on a daily basis.
While you read articles, do underline the words that you do not know or notice carefully if you come to know about the use of a word in a different way. Then, check the word meaning in your dictionary and write down in your notebook. Learn the noted words and do revise them once or twice a week.

8. Keep a Dictionary

A very common method of learning vocabulary is to keep a small pocket-sized dictionary with you. If you never devoted time to learn new words in this way, you can develop this habit now. There are two ways you can use your dictionary to learn words. Firstly, you can refer it any time you come across a new word and check its meaning in the dictionary. Secondly, you can start learning the words in sequence from first to the last page of your dictionary.

In this way, you can at least become familiar to new words every day and depending upon how much time you devote per day, you may be able to read all the words in your dictionary in several days or months. However, for effective learning, keep in mind to learn a word whole-heartedly. If you feel you cannot understand a word, just skip it because learning a word incorrectly is even more dangerous.

9. Listen to Audios & Watch Videos

The best way of learning the usage of a new word is when you listen to it being used by others. So, you can watch TV programmes, news channels, movies, YouTube videos, group discussions, talk shows etc. You can also listen to audios such as podcasts, songs, radio channels etc. One more thing is that you can prefer watching or listening to the stuff that you find interesting so that you may not get bored and stop your plan to learn vocabulary.

The concept behind this method is that you are exposed to new words and hence, you learn faster in this way. When you watch videos or listen to some audios, pay more attention to the words and how they are used. Watching video stuff online is also a good idea where you can pause or replay the videos to learn at your own pace. You can start by listening to videos which have sub-titles. This will help you improve your comprehension as well as listening skills.

10. Learn Idioms & Connectives

Use of idiomatic language and sentence connectors while you speak on a topic would be effective. In academic writing task 1, you should use connectives while idioms can be be avoided as they are used for informal writing. And hence, students appearing in IELTS General Training may use them while writing a letter. But make sure you use them when required and do not unnecessarily try to include them excessively.

11. New Vocabulary for IELTS – PDF download

It is always better to start something rather than delaying it, and that is why we have shared a PDF below which some rich vocabulary that you can read and understand. And if there is a new word that you don’t understand then it would be wise to make use of Step – 6, that can help you find the meaning for that world easily.

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